Financial Capability Challenge: Update

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In December, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and ED Secretary Arne Duncan announced the National Financial Capability Challenge, an effort to help high school students develop the knowledge and skills needed to take control of their financial futures.

In this new video, Secretary Duncan invites high school teachers and other educators to participate in the Challenge.

To participate, teachers simply…

  • sign up for the Challenge by March 14.
  • prepare their students for the Challenge – using their own materials or the free toolkit available to registered educators.
  • administer the voluntary online exam sometime between March 15 and April 9.

Participating educators, high-scoring students, and schools and states with the highest proportion of participating students will be recognized.

Below is a letter being sent to organizations and individuals across the country asking for help in recruiting high school teachers and other educators. The goal is for 1 million students to take the Challenge.

If you are interested in helping promote the Challenge at the state or national level, please contact Phil Martin at [email protected], or Dubis Correal at [email protected].

Dear Colleague,

In December 2009, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the National Financial Capability Challenge. They said that along with getting the economy back on track and getting smarter about financial regulation, we also need to make sure all Americans – but especially our youth – get the financial education they need to help them take responsibility for their financial futures. Treasury and Education are committed to working together on this issue. The Challenge – an awards program for educators and high schools students that aims to encourage the teaching of personal finance – is our first step in a new partnership.

An earlier version of the Challenge was organized by Treasury under the previous administration, and this expanded effort builds on that success.

Our goal is to get one million high school students to take the Challenge, which includes a voluntary online exam, by April 9, 2010. To make that happen, we’ll need thousands of educators from across the country to register and get their students prepared. Two thousand educators have already signed up. It’s a good start, but we have a long way to go. We’re writing to ask for your help.

Will you please support our effort to reach out to high school teachers and leaders – and other educators working with high school students age 13-19, such as librarians, youth group leaders, and after-school program staff – to encourage them to sign up for the Challenge at by March 14?

We’re encouraging educators to take these steps:

  1. View the video message from Secretary Duncan
  2. Register for the Challenge by March 14th
  3. Recruit their colleagues to participate (flier available here)
  4. Prepare their students (using the free educator toolkit or their own resources)
  5. Administer the online exam one day between March 15th and April 9th
  6. Present official (printable) awards certificates to high-scoring students.

All participating educators will receive personalized awards certificates, and educators in states with the highest participation rates will earn special distinction.

Please consider taking these steps as an outreach partner:

  • Send a custom message directly to educators and/or people who work with them
  • Contact influential individuals who could help recruit educators to participate
  • Include a link to the National Financial Capability Challenge website on your own site
  • Include the Challenge in your organization’s social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Talk about the Challenge during speaking engagements
  • Create additional incentives to encourage educators to participate
  • Offer instructional support to educators new to this topic (e.g. linking them with local experts).

Thank you for your support on this important issue.


Michelle Greene
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education and Financial Access
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Matthew Yale
Deputy Chief of Staff
U.S. Department of Education